Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Site for Soar Ayes

The New Republic dispatched renowned linguist John McWhorter to go deep into the mind of Sarah Palin in an attempt to puzzle out her, shall we say, distinctive speech patterns. He emerged covered in sticky rhetorical goo but with a reasonably enlightening analysis. At one point, though, he compares Palin's stream-of-unconsciousness prattle with Joe Biden's equally folksy, but more coherent, syntax by capturing this quote of Biden's from their debate:
Barack Obama laid out four basic criteria for any kind of rescue plan. He said there has to be oversight. We're not going to write a check to anybody unless there's some kind of oversite of the Secretary of the Treasury.
How is it that he gets oversight correct in the first instance, but not in the next sentence? And how does the editor/proofreader not catch that? And why does someone like me come along and snarkily point out what is obviously just a simple (ahem) oversight? We'll never know.

But that's not all. In this morning's Vancouver Sun recap of last night's Canucks game, reporter Iain MacIntyre, commenting on the less-than-stellar performance of the local team's defense, says that:
The Canucks, minus Ehrhoff and Mitchell, were not an encouraging site in their zone.
To be fair, MacIntyre is usually an astonishingly graceful prose stylist for a sports beat reporter, and I think we can attribute this lapse to deadline pressure. In any case, he's a darn sight more literate than Mrs. "I-can-see-Russia-from-my-porch."